Happy New Year! Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to stretch more? Let me help! I know you likely do not have a lot of time to spend on a stretch routine. So, here are four stretches to do everyday that will keep you feeling good!
Stretching is vital to your physical health, and I’ll bet you rarely do it. Whether you do or do not exercise, chances are you do not stretch that often. But you should.
In the short-term, stretching can help reduce soreness in your body and relieve mental stress. In the long-term, continuously working on your flexiblity will improve your blood flow, prevent injuries, keep your body in proper alignment, and improve your overall wellbeing.
It would be great if you could commit 10-15 minutes daily to a stretching routine, but I understand that is not realistic for most people. Doing the four stretches below for a couple minutes a day is a great way to ease into more flexibility training.
If you want to commit further to your daily stretch goal, try doing my FREE 30 Day Stretch Challenge. This challenge will take you through 30 different stretches for one month. It only takes 1-minute a day to complete! Check it out!
Here are the four stretches to do everyday –
Stretch #1: Standing Quad Stretch
A lot of men and women are “quad dominant,” meaning they use their quadricep muscles on most lower body movements. Walking, sitting and standing all put some level of strain on the thighs. So, even if you don’t workout, you might have tight quad muscles. Having tight quads is almost always the reason for knee pain. Do a standing quad stretch everyday to prevent knee pain from creeping up.
Make sure you hold onto something while you do this stretch. Also keep an eye on your form as you do a standing quad stretch. Focus on pulling your knee back, while at the same time tucking your hip forward. Those resisting forces will allow you to feel a really good stretch through the front of your thigh and hip flexor. Hold this stretch (and all stretches on this list) for a minimum of 30 seconds.
Stretch #2: Downward Dog or Flat Back
Downward Facing Dog is a very common yoga pose. I personally love it because it stretches out so many different muscles. This is a great stretch for your calves, hamstrings, lats, and shoulders. Read this article for tips on finding a comfortable and effective down dog stretch. If doing this stretch on the floor is uncomfortable to you, try modifying by putting your hands on a wall for a flat back stretch. This will feel very similar but allows you to remain standing.
Stretch #3: Calf Stretch
The calves are another commonly tight muscle in the body. This is due to shoes that don’t give feet enough support, overuse while driving, and simply walking around. Tight calves are another instigator of knee pain, so it is important to stretch them everyday. Doing a basic calf stretch with a step will help combat the tightness daily life creates.
Stretch #4: Cobra Pose
The cobra pose is a great stretch for you lower back and abs. Begin by lying on your stomach. Then, bring your hands next to your armpits and press through your hands to straighten your arms almost all the way. Make sure you press your shoulders down as you find your cobra pose. Many people tense up their shoulders in this position, but that creates more tightness. So try to relax. Think about your posture, have a long neck and press your chest forward.